At Pathways, we’ve been able to bring adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities together in an incredible virtual community for the past three years. Our program has connected students from all over the world, not just in the Tulsa Metro area. After completing high school, adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) often feel isolated and lonely, with limited options. But our virtual community changes all that! Here, individuals can form bonds, make friends, and continue learning in a comfortable, supportive environment, wherever they may be.
Some people might doubt the effectiveness of video conferencing classes for students with I/DD. But let us assure you: we’ve seen firsthand how engaging and successful these classes can be. We’ve noticed that students who need a calmer sensory environment often thrive in virtual classes precisely because they can create a space that works best for them. At Pathways, we know our virtual program makes a real difference in the lives of adults with I/DD – and we can’t wait to welcome even more students to our fantastic community!
After an exciting virtual dance party (what we like to call a sneaky exercise), we gave students the opportunity to share what they love about the virtual program. “I like music and dance,” said Tessa, and every Thursday, our virtual students and in-person students get together for a dance party! Tessa also mentioned that they started a virtual book club. Other students mentioned that their favorite parts of the Pathways program are worship, prayer, and Bible Study.
“Nathan loves that he can worship with his friends at home,” said Nathan’s mom Sara and Nathan, “I like praying with my friends.” Tiffany shared, “I like to do Bible Study with my friends on virtual and Miss Megan.” Worshipping will change your life!” said Ashliann.
Ashliann goes on to say, “ I like the support at Pathways because it makes you feel important. Especially when you are hurting and going through a rough time.”
“Yeah, we went through a lot when our friend passed away. That was very hard for us, and that was difficult because we were feeling down, upset, and we got to talk it out and move on. That’s what we doing. Share our emotions and not just keep it inside. Let it out. Move on, and it will be okay. Take a deep breath. We do yoga too, and that helps us a lot when we miss someone. That was hard on all of us.” said Tiffany.
“I’m glad we can care for each other and listen to each other and help with anything, but we also laugh too! We laugh a lot!” said Ashliann.
When asked what they would say to a potential student thinking about joining virtual classes, Ashilann replied, “I would tell them to come check it out. Miss Megan is a good teacher, and I love all my teachers and friends, and I like meeting new people too! Make that person feel special and important.” Everyone else in the class nodded in agreement.
Finally, we asked if the students had any last thoughts, and Ashliann shared, “I am thankful for Pathways because you can be yourself, and you know that you don’t have to be somebody else. I think people should be aware of people with special needs and know that they have feelings and emotions. They just want to be loved just like everybody else does.”
We offer the virtual program for 20 hours every week, and students can take advantage of a free one-week trial before making a commitment. Our virtual classes focus on enriching students’ lives in various areas, including continued education, social skills, independent living skills, and spiritual growth. To learn more about our virtual program, visit www.pathwaysok.org/program.